ADDIS ABABA (HAN) November 23, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. As the COP 21 international climate conference in the French capital Paris inches closer, the issue of financing for developing nations affected disproportionately by global warming is looming larger.
The government of Ethiopia, which launched its ambitious five-year economic Growth and Transformation Plan GTP II (2015-2020) in July, has been granted US50 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for climate-resilience projects.
Kare Chawicha, deputy minister of forestry, environment, and climate change, says the country will receive the amount after independent GCF experts decided on the US50 million ceiling.
However, Ethiopia had hoped to unlock up to US250 million from the fund through its ministry of finance and economic co-operation (MoFEC) to meet its ambitious green development strategy.
The government has previously consulted ambassadors of donor countries and organizations to discuss ways of funding climate friendly projects in GTP II, including from the GCF.
The GCF, based in South Korea, is a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world, founded within the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), the organization which is organizing COP21.
The GCF has 24 board members, 12 each from the developed and developing world. The aim is to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate global warming.
“Although by 2020 GCF had planned to mobilize US100 billion, so far only US10.2 billion has been pledged,” said Zerihun Getu co-ordinator for the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) facility at MoFEC, adding that accessing funds directly from GCF has been challenging.
However, Anders Vatn, climate counselor at the Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, one of the major green climate finance partners for the country, says his country has already committed 30 million Norwegian Krone (about US3.8 million) for GCF, and sees the contribution from his country continuing to plug the funding gap.
“We plan to fund projects on forestry and agriculture, renewable energy programs such as solar power,” said Vatn, stating that it will feed into the strategy of creating an economic opportunity based on sustainable use of natural resources.
Negash Teklu, Executive Director of Population, Health, Environment (PHE), a consortium of dozens of local and international NGOs, says unlocking funds for projects in Ethiopia is not just about helping Ethiopia achieve its CRGE goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.
He said regional countries were looking for a trans-boundary, developmental approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Ethiopia is currently constructing thousands of kilometers of railway lines across the country, fully powered by electricity, as a way of improving local infrastructure, creating regional integration, and boosting external trade for a landlocked nation of 94 million people, all in a climate-friendly way.
It is also engaged in the construction of numerous renewable energy projects, including wind, geothermal, and hydro, to boost its total power production capacity from the current 2300 MW to about 17,000 MW.
With an eye to COP21, Getu says the government is finalizing details to prepare proposals for candidate projects.
Ethiopia’s proposals will be focused on climate change mitigation through reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and resilience or adaptation strategies.
According to Getu, half of the GCF is supposed to be used for adaptation and half for mitigation, with at least 50 percent of the funds to be allocated to least developed countries (LDCs) which include Ethiopia. Which sectors will get priority in financing will be a political decision expected at the Paris conference.
For Teklu the financing of climate friendly projects is not just an issue of trans-boundary co-operation to fight off climate change, but about collective growth and security.
“Ethiopia is known for being endowed with renewable energy potential. The development and export of this potential will ensure that East Africa’s most populous nation helps in lowering the carbon footprint of both it and its regional countries, while still stimulating growth and reducing border communities tensions,” he said.
He apparently meant that sustainable development through climate-friendly energy supply would help reduce competition between border communities for scarce agricultural resources.
While Ethiopia hopes to unlock funds for its green economy strategy – which aims to help make it a middle-economy, with a zero carbon footprint – it is also soliciting non-monetary assistance, such as capacity building. It would put its demands in Paris, Getu said.
In the meantime, Ethiopia says it is starting its own results-oriented framework, which is going to be co-ordinated among three ministries, to co-ordinate CRGE and access the GCF.
“Accessing GCF is an important part of CRGE objective, integrating climate change resilient strategies in our economic development, enabling Ethiopia to be part of the global community,” Getu said.
Deputy minister Chawicha said agriculture, natural resources, livestock, energy, forestry, industry, and urban housing sector transport were the sectors of the economy most vulnerable to climate change and would get most of the US50 million from the GCF. But he stressed that government would also finance its climate measures from the treasury and non-governmental sources.
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